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What to Do When Pipes Freeze and Cause Extensive Water Damage in Rockland County, NY

October 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

As the days and nights get colder, freezing pipes become more and more of a real concern. Without proper insulation and safe temperatures, your pipes could be – susceptible to freezing and bursting. In the unfortunate even of a burst pipe this winter, contact ServiceMaster by QuickResponse for immediate water damage restoration in Rockland County, NY.

Here are some tips you can follow to decrease the amount of water damage to your home:

Turn off your main water supply. Cutting off your water will prevent more water from flowing out of the broken line. If the pipe is still frozen, cutting off the water supply could even prevent any extreme water damage to your home.

Turn off your electricity. Depending on how much water has spilled from the broken pipe, you should be cautious around circuit breakers and wires. If water has pooled on the ground near a source of electricity, turning that source off is the safest course of action. Water can carry dangerous electrical currents across wide sections of your floor.

Disconnect your hot water valve. If the burst pipe is connected to a hot water line, the energy to heat the water is being wasted. Either shut off the main water supply or, if so equipped, the valve at the water heater.

Don’t let it thaw. If a burst pipe is still frozen, your best course of action is to keep it that way. The optimal scenario with a burst pipe is to have a still-frozen section of pipe you can cut off from the water supply. You can then remove that section, drain the pipes, and replace the broken piece of pipe.

A burst pipe doesn’t have to be the watery disaster it often is. Following these easy steps can keep your family and home safe and as water damage free as possible until our technicians arrive. Contact us at ServiceMaster by QuickResponse for all water damage restoration needs in Rockland County, NY.

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Your Fireplace Might be Your Quickest Way to Needing Fire Damage Restoration in Rockland County, NY

October 15th, 2015 · No Comments

As the weather cools, a cozy fire in your home fireplace may become more and more tempting. A crackling fire may be one of the cheers of the holiday season, but without proper fireplace safety procedures, it may also put you in the fast lane to a house fire. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we offer emergency fire damage restoration in Rockland County, NY in case you encounter a fireplace-related mishap.

Although a very old concept, today’s fireplaces are designed with safety in mind, but this doesn’t change the fact that you are lighting a fire inside your home. There are a few steps you can take to minimize the dangers of a fireplace.

For example, routine cleanings and inspections of your chimney and flue can seriously increase your ability to prevent—or at least catch—problems before they arise. Creosote and soot buildup can clog your chimney and eventually catch fire. A leaky or clogged flues can push toxic smoke back into your home. Most chimneys and flues need cleaning at least once a year, preferably in the fall before you use them in the winter and after you can account for summer debris.

Investing in a high quality glass or metal screen will also decrease your chances of a house fire. A fireplace cover is a simple, effective way to keep burning embers, sparks, and ash contained without blocking the warmth from the fire.

Building better fires can also decrease your risk of a fireplace-related house fire. Using less paper when starting a fire is one way to begin managing fires in your fireplace. While it’s easier to start a fire with quick-burning paper, the soot can also buildup more quickly with the more paper you use. You can also make sure the logs you place in your fireplace are stable and dry, and never use lighter fluid to light a fire in your fireplace. It’s simply too difficult to control the fast-igniting fluid.

Find out how to (safely) use your fireplace more efficiently here and here. You can also learn more about fireplace safety for all homes here and about safety for old homes here. If you do experience a fireplace-related disaster, contact us at ServiceMaster by QuickResponse for fire damage restoration in Rockland County, NY.

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Weatherize Your Home to Prevent the Need for Water Damage Restoration Services in Rockland County, NY

September 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

There are parts of the U.S. where the sun shines nearly all year round and a front porch can double as a room for rent. While places like Florida and Southern California enjoy consistently beautiful weather, they don’t get to experience the unequaled magic of fall, when the leaves finally change, and of winter, when the first snowfall covers the ground. In exchange for the wonder of the changing seasons, northern parts of the U.S. pay the price of winter weather. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we offer professional water damage restoration services in Rockland County, NY. But we like our customers to know how to weatherize their homes to prevent most damage from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your home for the changing seasons:

Gutters and roof:

  • Clean the leaves and gunk out of your gutters before the first frost. A clean gutter will keep ice dams from building up next to your roof and pushing water back into your home.
  • Direct the runoff from gutters at least five feet away from the base of your home. If water collects and freezes in and around your foundation it could crack the cement when it melts. A cracked foundation can lead to a flooded basement.
  • Clear your roof and check for cracks. Make sure to sweep off debris, but leave the pebbles that protect the cracks in your roof from water and ice.

Windows and doors:

  • Seal around the edges of your windows with caulking to keep water from collecting inside the sill. Cover the inside of your windows with a plastic winter sealant to keep moisture from penetrating from inside the home as well.
  • Install weather strips on all your doors leading outside. This keeps water out and heat in.

 Plumbing:

  • Turn off all water sources to your outside pipes, and drain the water from outside hoses, pipes, and taps.
  • Check the plumbing in your basement or other areas that could be exposed to freezing temperatures. To preemptively prevent bursting, it’s best to insulate any pipes that may have the potential to freeze.
  • Check for any areas of your home where moisture from the inside heat may collect and start mold growth. Be aware that these areas may need constant dehumidifying during the winter months.

These preparations will help lower your risk of water damage during the winter, but if you do encounter damage, contact us at ServiceMaster by QuickResponse for water damage restoration services in Rockland County, NY.

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Save Your Flooring with Water Removal Services in Rockland County, NY

September 1st, 2015 · No Comments

As much as we need it for cooking, cleaning, and physical health, water isn’t always so helpfully benign. It comes into homes and businesses with destructive force during severe storms or when plumbing fails spectacularly in bathrooms, kitchens and basements to cause serious damage to the appearance and structural integrity of floors. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we provide water removal services in Rockland County, NY to restore your carpet and hardwood floors after water damage.

The water damage restoration process and severity of damage depend on several factors including where the water came from, how much water there was and how long it was in contact with your flooring. To start assessing the situation, the technician will determine the source of the water and whether it falls into one the three categories set forth by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)

  • Category 1: This includes water from clean sources like drinking fountains, faucet taps and toilet tanks that won’t cause illness if ingested.
  • Category 2: This type has some contaminates that may cause discomfort if ingested but not significant illnesses. It usually comes from dishwashers, washing machines and sink drains, and is often called “grey water” in laymen’s’ terms.
  • Category 3: Sometimes referred to as “black water,” this type of water is as unsanitary as the nickname implies. It has high potential to cause illness or death due to biological contaminants and stems from sources such as sewer backup, toilet overflow, flooding from rivers or heavy rains.

In addition to these categories, the IICRC identifies four classes of destruction—that is, the amount of damage estimated to have been caused by a flooding situation.

  • Class 1: Only part of a room was affected and can be easily cleaned up as the water affected materials that have a low permanence rate for moisture such as concrete.
  • Class 2: Water affected an entire room, including carpeting, cushions and lower part of walls, and can still be wrung out of soft materials.
  • Class 3: Damage extends to ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors, perhaps as the result of water falling from above.
  • Class 4: A large amount of water had enough time to seep deep in materials with very low permanence including hardwood and brick, and the area will require specialty drying techniques.

Whether your carpet or hardwood floors suffered due to a burst pipe, a clogged toilet or a natural flood, ServiceMaster by QuickResponse has a high success rate with our water removal, restoration, and dehydrating services. Call us at 845-517-5644 for water removal services in Rockland County, NY.

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Prevent Black Mold Growth in Your Business and Eliminate the Need For Mold Remediation in Rockland County, NY

August 29th, 2015 · No Comments

Mold spores are constantly present in outdoor and indoor atmospheres, and black mold can begin to grow as soon as a spore lands on a hospitable surface. Along with a strong ability to grow on a multitude of surfaces, mold also has a voracious appetite and can negatively affect health. Unfortunately, the glorious growing abilities of mold are not a plus for your business, especially in the eyes of your customers and health inspectors. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we offer professional black mold remediation in Rockland County, NY.

While black mold can easily establish itself in many environments, infestations can also be easy to prevent by taking these cautionary measures:

Repair leaky pipes as quickly as possible. Black mold can’t grow without a water source. If condensation is introduced into your business atmosphere, it will create a perfect environment for mold. Check your pipes often and keep track of potential leaks.

Clean HVAC drip pans regularly. Water that accumulates in drip pans can evaporate and collect elsewhere. Make sure all vents are unobstructed and dry. Vents can quickly collect humidity from the air, leading to a happy home for black mold and other harmful molds.

Vent kitchens and bathrooms as much as possible. These are two rooms that generate the most humidity and warmth in many businesses. Restaurant kitchens often have industrial vents installed, but these still require regular cleaning. Kitchen and bathroom vent buildups are leading causes of black mold growth in commercial buildings.

Clean damp spots as soon as they occur or are noticed. After 48 hours, mold spores can settle and grow in these damp areas. If you try to inefficiently clean a damp spot long after black mold settled, you could stir up the spores and spread them further.

It’s easy to keep black mold from growing in your business, but it’s also easy to miss the signs of accumulating dampness. Mold can quickly become a health and safety issue once moisture is introduced to your business. Follow these tips to keep black mold at bay. If mold becomes a problem, contact us at ServiceMaster by QuickResponse for mold remediation in Rockland County, NY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Microns, MERV, Particulates, and Why You Many Need Air Duct Cleaning Services in Rockland County, NY

August 25th, 2015 · No Comments

Fiberglass air filters may be inexpensive (some are only $1.00 each!), but what you save up-front is probably costing you when it comes down to maintaining clean air. In fact, these filters are only designed to keep large particles like hair and lint from clogging your HVAC fans and motors. If you’ve been using these filters for years, you may need to clean out your system and start looking into higher quality filters.  ServiceMaster by QuickResponse  provides professional air duct cleaning services in Rockland County, NY.

Finding the best air filter for your home is easier when you understand the terms for filter quality and capability.

Each filter’s quality is rated with the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) system. MERV ratings are determined by testing the filter’s ability to capture particles between 3.0 and 10.0 microns. To put things in perspective, the cheapest fiberglass panel filters have a MERV rating of 1-4, while the most efficient HEPA filters used in hospitals have a rating of 17-20.

To further understand the MERV system, it’s important to know how microns are measured. In technical terms, a micron is one millionth of a meter. The smallest particles found in the dust of most homes and businesses are 0.001 micron, and the largest are 100 microns. An average strand of human hair is 150 microns in diameter, and most of the particles in the air (under 35 microns) are too small to see with the naked eye. Most allergens like mold spores and pollen are between 1 and 100 microns.

While MERV ratings measure a filter’s ability to capture particulates, these ratings don’t necessarily take into account the total efficiency of that filter. The efficiency depends on the fan and motor HVAC system you have in your home. Simply because a filter has a high MERV rating does not mean it will filter your air better than an adequately rated filter designed for your HVAC system. If the motor isn’t strong enough to pump air through the thicker filter, it could leave your air as unclean as a cheap fiberglass filter.

Understanding filters is not as straightforward as other aspects of home care may be, but you can easily find a filter tailored to your HVAC system with more of the right information. ServiceMaster by QuickResponse can provide information and air duct cleaning services in Rockland County, NY.

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Increased Ozone Levels Call for Professional Air Duct Cleaning in Rockland County, NY

August 20th, 2015 · No Comments

Residential areas near large cities suffer the disadvantage of increased air pollution. Rockland County and other surrounding counties endure residual air pollution from New York City. Recently, Rockland County residents were warned of increased levels of ozone during the height of the day. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we provide professional air duct cleaning services in Rockland County, NY to keep your home or business atmosphere free from dangerous ozone pollution.

While ozone is important in protecting our atmosphere from UV rays, the ozone pollution created from byproducts of fossil fuel combustion (hydrocarbons and nitrogen dioxide) is harmful to human health. Ozone levels in the lower atmosphere increase as sunlight increases. The New York State Department of Health advises residents to stay indoors during the height of the day when ozone levels are most intense.

Ozone (O3) is a much less-stable allotrope of oxygen (O2) that forms into a slightly bluish gas and emits a distinct smell similar to sulfur and chlorine. It can be used commercially in small amounts, but breaks down explosively and damages crops, forests, and even manmade structures. Ozone also poses serious health hazards.

Eye, nose, and throat irritation are the most common symptoms people experience from ozone exposure. Ozone is a highly powerful oxidant, which means it damages mucus and respiratory tissues in animals and some tissues in plants.

Prolonged exposure to ozone can lead to damaged lung function and has been linked to the development of asthma in children and adults. Ozone can also cause bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.

The longer a person is exposed to ozone, the more severe the health risks become. Extreme ozone damage in the respiratory system can lead to cardiopulmonary disease and premature death.

The beginnings of ozone damage may show up as feelings of fatigue and shortness of breath. The summer ozone warnings in Rockland County have increased with hotter, sunnier days. The Department of Health recommends staying indoors during the peak of ozone-high days.

What better way to escape dangerous ozone than with a clean air filtration system in your home or business? Contact ServiceMaster by QuickResponse today for professional air duct cleaning services in Rockland County, NY to filter out harmful pollutants like ozone from the air you, your family or your customers breathe.

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Types Of Home Particle Filtration Systems and the Need for Air Duct Cleaning in Rockland County, NY

August 20th, 2015 · No Comments

Choosing a home air filter can be tricky, but making the right choice can go far in maintaining clean air in your home. Home systems remove contaminants in various ways, some more efficiently than others. At ServiceMaster Absolute, we provide air duct cleaning services in Rockland County for any home system you choose.

Home air filters target two types of air contaminants: particle matter and gaseous pollutants. Most homes are equipped with particle filtration systems. Gas-phase filters are available only as additions to target certain kinds of gas pollutants. Understanding which particle filter is the best for you requires some information about how each type functions.

Particle Filters:

  • Most particle filters use a mechanical system to pump air through synthetic filters made to catch particles. Home heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units (HVAC) often take 1”-4” filters.
  • Mechanical filters are measured in Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings. Lower ratings equal lower efficiency and filtering abilities.
  • Cheap fiberglass filters might seem attractive, but will force your HVAC system to work harder and leave you with only slightly-filtered air and a higher electricity bill.
  • Pleated filters have higher MERV ratings and remove 45% of air pollutants. Pleated filters with more pleats per foot will provide better air flow through your HVAC system.
  • Don’t get wrapped into buying a pleated filter with a high MERV rating and few pleats per foot. Most home system fans aren’t powerful enough to push air through a thicker filter with a lower number of pleats. These filters will simply leave your air dirtier than it would be with a cheap filter.
  • High-efficiency air filters remove 85% of particle contaminants. These are the most effective (and expensive) home filters. They are similar to car oil and air filters, made with pleated paper or fine polyester fibers.
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters remove 98% of particles but are most efficient for commercial grade systems. Home systems aren’t powerful enough to pump air through HEPA filters, but you can get an add-on HEPA system that will pump air through both your home and HEPA system.

Clean home air is important for your family’s health. Choosing the right system can go a long way in saving money on electric and medical bills but even a filter needs to be cleaned every few months. Contact ServiceMaster Absolute for home air duct cleaning services in Rockland County, NY.

 

 

 

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Dangerous Common Household Molds and Why They Require Mold Removal Services in Stony Point and Clarkstown, NY

August 13th, 2015 · No Comments

Any amount of persistent moisture in a building can initiate a mold infestation that can contribute to health problems, structural instability, and attract pests. Black mold is commonly recognized for its negative health effects, but there are many other lesser-known molds that could be present in your home or business. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we provide comprehensive mold removal services in Stony Point and Clarkstown, NY.

Being able to recognize the presence of mold in your home is an important step to addressing the issue. Some of these molds can be just as damaging as the infamous black mold if left untreated.

Aspergillus is a mold often found inside buildings. This kind of mold poses a number of health risks ranging from allergic reactions to a serious condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It often appears as dark blotches and streaks on walls and ceilings.

Aureobasidium appears in pink, black, or tan colors. Aureobasidium often grows most readily on painted, wooden, or wallpapered surfaces. It also thrives in window sills, grout, and caulking. Most people suffer some allergic reactions to this type of mold.

Chaetomium grows on drywall and plasters retaining moisture. It often produces a musty smell and is commonly found in unfinished basements and older cellars. If left untreated, chaetomium can rot away the drywall in your home.

Fusarium is unlike most other molds that only thrive in warmer temperatures. Fusarium grows well in cold and hot temperatures, so it can be present in a wider range of environments. It often grows in water-damaged soft materials like carpets, upholstery, and leather. It can also contribute to health problems like asthma, allergic reactions, and respiratory infections.

Serpula lacrymans is also known as “dry rot.” It naturally occurs in pine forests, and if present in the home, it can eat away the wood floors, furniture, or structural frames of the building. It appears as large, thick-looking brown and yellow splotches and needs very little moisture to grow.

These molds can be damaging to the health and building structure, but our mold removal technicians can take care of the problem. Contact ServiceMaster by QuickResponse today for mold removal services in Stony Point and Clarkstown, NY.

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Differences Between Mold and Mildew and Why Both Need Mold Removal Services in Stony Point and Clarkstown, NY

August 8th, 2015 · No Comments

Mold growth is common in both homes and businesses, and depending on the severity of the infestation, it can pose serious threats to health and building stability. Mold is a rather general term, however, and mildew and mold are often lumped together as one. While both are forms of fungus, they affect the building and health differently. At ServiceMaster by QuickResponse, we provide comprehensive mold removal services in Stony Point and Clarkstown, NY for mold and mildew.

Mold is an umbrella term for certain kinds of fungi, and while mildew falls under that umbrella, mold and mildew are separate when it comes to building care.

The Basics:
• Mildew is often referred to as an early form of mold. It covers surfaces and grows in a powdery, flat pattern. Mold grows in a more developed pattern, sending tiny multicellular strands called hyphae. This is why mildew looks dusty, while mold looks fuzzy, spiky, or even slimy.
• Mildew is often white or pale grays, browns, and yellows. More developed and built-up spots of mildew can turn darker and sometimes be mistaken for black mold.
• Other mold is usually darker and thicker, with a range of textures and colors from pink to green to black.

Prevention:
1. Keeping both mold and mildew out of your home or business requires moisture-control. Regularly check the levels of humidity in your building, and make sure bathrooms are properly ventilated. Dispose of expired food, and spot signs of growths already in the building.

Health Risks:
1. Risks caused by mold and mildew are similar, but mold can be more severely detrimental. Both mold and mildew will cause symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, sore throats, and headaches.
• Mold goes beyond mildew when it comes to health risks, even causing asthma, depression, pneumonia, joint paint, allergic reactions, sinus infections, and migraines.

Though they have their differences, neither mold nor mildew should be welcome in your home or business. Contact ServiceMaster by QuickResponse today for mold removal services in Stony Point and Clarkstown, NY today.

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